The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), a task force run by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, has arrested 22 current and former nursing home employees in two separate cases after footage from hidden surveillance cameras revealed alleged neglect and other conduct that endangered dependent residents. The first case involves the arrest of 14 individuals regarding incidents at Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility in Troy, NY. The second case involves the arrest of 8 individuals regarding incidents at the Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst, NY.
Attorney General Cuomo explained, "With the consent of family members, we put hidden cameras in nursing homes across the state, watching over the vulnerable who often cannot advocate for themselves. My office is strongly committed to using all the tools at our disposal to make sure people are getting the medical treatment and the care they deserve."
The hidden cameras at Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility in Troy revealed that staff routinely failed to turn and position an immobile resident, often leaving the resident in the same position for an entire shift over a six-week period. Nursing staff failed to administer medications, as well as treat the resident's bedsores (decubitus ulcers, pressure sores). In addition, the nursing staff member allegedly falsified resident medical records to conceal their neglect. A physician's assistant also created a phony record of an annual medical exam that never happened.
Six Licensed Practical Nurses and seven Certified Nurse Aides were charged with multiple counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony) and Willful Violation of the Public Health Law (unclassified misdemeanor) in complaints filed in Schaghticoke Town Court. In addition, the LPNs were charged with multiple counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Physically Disabled Person (class A misdemeanor). The physician's assistant was charged with one count each of the above charges. A class E felony carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison and the misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
The investigation along with surveillance video taken at Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home in Amherst over a seven-week period revealed that staff routinely failed to properly transfer the resident in and out of bed, putting the resident at risk of injury. Staff was required to use a mechanical lift with the assistance of two caregivers. Video footage also revealed that one aide failed to provide range of motion therapy and two nurses failed to administer insulin, provide skin and wound treatment, and failed to check the resident's vital signs. In addition, the resident's medical records show that employees falsified records to conceal the resident's neglect and endangerment.
Two Licensed Practical Nurses and one Certified Nurse Aide were charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony) in complaints filed in Amherst Town Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison. Five other Certified Nurse Aides were charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person (class A misdemeanor), with a maximum penalty of one year in jail. The Certified Nurse Aide who falsified the resident's medical record failed to perform range of motion exercises on the resident's extremities, which were required to prevent muscle contracture.
CUOMO'S HIDDEN-CAMERA INVESTIGATION LEADS TO 22 ARRESTS FOR PATIENT NEGLECT AT WNY AND CAPITAL REGION NURSING HOMES, NYS Attorney General, March 31, 2010.